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Wish You Well

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  21,675 ratings  ·  2,435 reviews
Precocious twelve-year-old Louisa Mae Cardinal lives in the hectic New York City of 1940 with her family. Then tragedy strikes -- and Lou and her younger brother, Oz, must go with their invalid mother to live on their great-grandmother's farm in the Virginia mountains. Suddenly Lou finds herself coming of age in a new landscape, making her first true friend, and ...more
Paperback, 432 pages
Published April 3rd 2007 by Grand Central Publishing (first published September 30th 2000)
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Average rating 3.98  · 
Rating details
 ·  21,675 ratings  ·  2,435 reviews

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Jan 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I am not a Baldacci fan...never read another of his books. But this is not characteristic of his legal thrillers. This is a beautiful story about 2 children learning what is really important in life...and it's NOT money. I've heard that in many places this is becoming required reading at the junior high/high school, level and it should be. It would be most impactful for this age. I loved it and will remember it long after I forget many of the other books I have read. I wish everyone would read ...more
Jan 22, 2008 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 13, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Jennifer by: Tricia
I laughed and I cried (mostly cried)...I would not typically read this type of book, but this story of hope and triumph of the human spirit had me hooked to the very end. It was well written; the characters were deep and engaging and the setting beautifully described.

This is the story of Louisa May (Lou) Cardinal; a precocious 12 year old from New York. Her father is a famous (albeit underpaid) writer and she has a caring mother and a younger brother named Oz. When the whole family is in a car
Shobhit Sharad
Apr 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
There are a lot of books which make you feel things- sometimes happy, sad the other times, and much more. Then there are some books which grab you by the scruff, shake all emotions out of you and refill you with a new experience of things which you never felt before.

This is one of those books for me.

I won't dare to say this book is perfect. This is a story of a struggle, of how humanity works, of how you should live, of how you can improve, and I can go on listing things which the book very
Aug 28, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: general-fiction
TLDR: David Baldacci read "To Kill A Mockingbird" and thought he could write the same book just as well. He was wrong.

You've got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know... morons. Gene Wilder, Blazing Saddles

Apropos of nothing, Ive been thinking of Italian Western epics a lot lately, so I thought Id do this review with a Sergio Leone flavor.

The Good: In truth, I enjoyed Wish You Well more than I thought I would.
Nov 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
This was a complete departure for Baldacci and I really enjoyed it. He showed a completely different side of him and his writing skill were shine. I cried, and learned about the hardships of people living in the nountains of Virginia just before WWII, with no power and hard life farming. ENJOY
Dec 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-club, 2016
I really enjoyed this book. I loved being transported to another time and place. I loved the characters and the writing made me feel as if I was there.

"The place smelled of coffee, wood smoke, and baking fruit pies. Umbrellas for sale hung from the ceiling. There was a bench down one wall, and three swivel chrome barstools with padded green seats were bolted to the floor in front of a waist-high counter. Glass containers filled with candy rested on the display cabinets. There was a modest soda
Leah Weiss
Aug 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book because it was set in a place I hold dear in my heart: Appalachia. A good read, for sure.
Jun 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
Really a touching story and a stark departure from his normal books. This tells of life in the mountains of Virginia and appreciation for the "simple" life.
Barbara Seda
Nov 14, 2013 rated it did not like it
This is really a hard review for me to write mostly because those I know who have read it liked it and most of the reviews I have read loved it. I just don't understand WHY! I feel like I did not read the same book.

First, I think that it did not help that I read this book at the same time we were reading To Kill A Mockingbird. I do feel like this was a poor homage to To Kill A Mockingbird on some level -- two precocious kids, court room drama, evil protagonist. Sadly, David Baldacci is no Harper
Sep 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I am going to make this one short and sweet. I have never read anything by David Baldacci before as the only books I saw by him seemed to be legal-type books which I don't read much of. But after seeing Wish You Well on the shelf at the local library, it sounded like a book I could not pass up.

Because I really didn't know what I was in for, the first chapter or so didn't have me convinced, but once I got to about the third chapter I was totally captivated!! This was such a beautiful story! I
Michael Dipietro
Dec 19, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: garbage
Alright, I'm not going to be eloquent about it, but I HAVE to add my two cents because there are just too many glowing reviews of this book. It is so so sooooo cliche, every plot device comes straight out of made-for-TV movies, which several reviewers have commented. Makes me think of Umberto Eco's essay on Casablanca, "The Cliches are Having a Ball," because the whole thing is a mishmash of courtroom drama and wistful 'long-lost simple life' tropes. The ending is ridiculous. I think I have an ...more
Jun 15, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
Halfway through I thought I would have to put the book down forever (forever ever? yes. forever ever) because it felt like the book was taking a godly turn a.k.a a Milla-will-put-down-the-book-forever-ever turn, because I really dont want to read about how God saves everything, because, yeah, I dont do sci-fi, okaay? Anyhow

The book is about a sister and brother who lose their parents in a car-wreck, and gets sent to live with their great-grandmother on a mountain.. Well, they lose their father,
Nov 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
I've never read any other David Baldacci books, so I can't comment on how this is a departure from those plots, even though it's very obvious that it is.
The story itself is well-written, with two main children characters who are forced to grow up and learn to rely on each other after they are faced with tragedy. They move from the city to a rural town in Virginia, where they first meet their Great-Grandmother, the woman responsible for raising their father.
The story follows the two children, Lou
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's sad and funny and sweet and best of all it has a happy ending.
Lou and her brother Oz find themselves living with their great-grandmother in the mountains of Virginia after a deadly accident that claims the life of their father and the mind of their mother. Their grandmother Louisa is everything you would want in a grandma and Lou and Oz thrive. There are good neighbors and evil men and a country lawyer that is a saint. It's Pollyanna and Anne of Green Gables but was a great read that left
Feb 26, 2009 added it
Wish You Well.
This is a book that made me cry, and pulled at my heart, but at the same time made me smile and really appreciate what I have before I loose it. The emotion in this book was powerfully written and motivating. Its about an everyday family, everyday people who loose everything, but slowly learn to live in their new world and cope to the emotional turmoil that has happened upon, a young brother and sister.
Im glad that I was encouraged to read this book, with this books setting being
Aug 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful book about a girl and her brother who get sent to her grandmothers in the Virginia Mountains after her father is killed in a car wreck and her mother goes into a catatonic state. Very different from what Baldacci usually writes but very enjoyable. It is 1940 and the accidental death of their father sends two children, Lou and her younger brother Oz, along with their invalid mother, from New York City to the rugged mountains of southwestern Virginia to live with their great-grandmother, ...more
Jun 09, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: b-the-good
Not going to lie, I didn't really have high expectations for this book. Perhaps if I didn't it wouldn't have been as good as I thought it was. You know how that happens? You set yourself up for something really great and then end up being disappointed when it's not as good as you thought it was going to be? Well, whatever, with Wish You Well I was not disappointed.

The only problem with the book was that it was a little clichéd at times, not a big deal, but a little annoying. Most common cliché
Feb 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is not your usual Baldacci, legal and crime writer. It's a story about two kids, 12-year old Lou and 7-year old Oz, who loose their father in a car accident in New York area, leaving their mother in a coma.
They move to their great-grandmother Louisa to live with at her Virginia Mountain farm. Quite another life, to get used to, and on top of that Louisa's farm is threatened by gas companies who try to take over her land.
Entertaining, easy to read, good feel of the times, culture and the
Samantha Pincus
Sep 14, 2011 rated it did not like it
Throw that cheesy Vampire down the stairs, while you're doing that, toss this one as well. You will not ever get these hours back in your life :)
Sep 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Precocious 12-year-old Louisa Mae Cardinal lives in the hectic New York City of 1940 with her family. Then tragedy strikes--and Lou and her younger brother, Oz, must go with their invalid mother to live on their great-grandmother's farm in the Virginia mountains. Suddenly Lou finds herself coming of age in a new landscape, making her first true friend, and experiencing adventures tragic, comic, and audacious. But the forces of greed and justice are about to clash over her new home...and as their ...more
Jul 23, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
Recommended to Roberta by: a friend with very different taste
UGH! I've never read anything else by David Baldacci, so I can't compare this to his "usual" writing. What I can say is that I thought the whole book was hokey - from the annoying dialects to the improbable situations and far-fetched solutions.
Shrikanth Venne
Again one of the classic book of David. This book is about cardinal family living in Virginia mountain. The book is rather slow in the starting which is because author has tried to build up the story for a classic climax. The book is very fast towards the end specially after the death of Jack diamond Skinner one of the character in the book. overall a superb Goodread.... 😃
If I remember correctly, Cold Comfort Farm was satirizing some type of emotionally manipulative maudlin genre where by citified relatives end up moving in with their relatives on the farm and some sort of relationship utopia ensues. This book fits squarely into that targeted genre. I felt like Baldacci, who apparently has more expertise with writing cynical legal thrillers, was doing an ambitious but sorely misguided thing when he decided to pen this earnest, clearly meant to be heartwarming ...more
Feb 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Almost 5 stars but just a tad predictable In some parts.
I loved this story, the setting, the characters. The author really brought the setting and the people to life for me.
I thought his writing was beautiful and especially loved the letters from Jack.
My favorite characters were Cotton, Oz and Grandma Louisa.
This is not a book I would normally pick up, So Im glad it was chosen for book group. I listened to it in one day to be ready. I recommend listening. I thought the narrator was great.
Nov 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: my UTA book club girls
This is a heart felt story about people, about family. Lou and her younger brother Oz find themselves alone as their father has passed away and their mother has entered a catatonic state. They head up the hills in Virginia to live on the mountain with their great grandmother Louisa, whom they have never met, but heard frequently about from their father's stories. Their experience there is filled with trials, opposition, danger, learning, growth, understanding, friendship, love, and faith. I grew ...more
Feb 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
Reviewing books is not my forte, so all I will say is that I enjoyed this one more than I had thought I would at first. The first couple of chapters I was, through tears of heartache, wondering what I had just gotten myself into. So, in order to calm my troubled heart, I read the end first. At least enough to enable me to keep reading. And I'm glad I did (keep reading and read the end first). It was a touching tale. It read very easily and was captivating - I stayed up until after 2am reading it ...more
This was a sweet story about a couple of kids that are given more hard knocks than they deserve. I normally dont like it when authors switch genres (see: James Patterson, Patricia Cornwell), but this was wonderful writing from Baldacci. The ending is a little sugary-sweet-fairy-tale-ish, but its forgivable.

I felt a little bit of an extra connection to this story because it is set where I live. Im not quite in coal country, but Im on the cusp of it. People around here hold on to their way of life
David Rough
Aug 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This beautiful story of family and struggle in the hills of Virginia is not the normal subject content for David Baldacci, but it is one of the better books I have read this year. I enjoyed the story, the interchange between the characters of the book, the conflict and resolution, and the setting. Some books do not satisfactorily conclude for my taste, but Baldacci provides an emotional ending that provides closure and a desire for more from novels like this one from this gifted author.
Oct 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Lovely, homespun and poignant tale of mountain folk and simpler times and ways. (Probably the kind that would survive and prosper in dystopian times). Well narrated (some done by the author). This isn't like authors usual story. Thoroughly enjoyable for any age and most genre-lovers. Highly recommended.
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David Baldacci has been writing since childhood, when his mother gave him a lined notebook in which to write down his stories. (Much later, when David thanked her for being the spark that ignited his writing career, she revealed that shed given him the notebook to keep him quiet, "because every mom needs a break now and then.) He published his first novel, Absolute Power, in 1996; it was ...more

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“Most folks here got rules 'bout trespassing. Warning shot's fired right close to the head. Get they's attention. Next shot gets a lot more personal. Now I'm too old to waste time firing a warning shot.....” 12 likes
“As my father wrote, one's courage, hope, and spirit can be severely tried by the happenstance of life. But as I learned on this Virginia mountain, so long as one never loses faith, it is impossible to ever truly be alone.” 10 likes
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